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June 29: The Slonim Massacres

Lawrence Bush
June 29, 2010

800px-Synagogue,_SlonimFollowing some acts of armed resistance by Jewish partisans in the ghetto of Slonim, Byelorussia (Poland), the Nazis set the ghetto on fire on this date in 1942 and spent the next two weeks laboriously murdering between seven and ten thousand Jews. Slonim was home to a hasidic dynasty, to numerous prominent rabbis and scholars, and to the “Great Synagogue,” built in 1642. The 20-25,000 Jews of Slonim had been ghettoized, tortured and twice massacred by the Nazis after being conquered in the early days of Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union. Of the few survivors, some joined up with Soviet partisans, and others escaped deeper into Soviet-controlled territory.
“There cannot be an end to speaking and writing about it.” —Aharon Appelfeld

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.